Great Falls Park is a national park located along the banks of the Potomac River in the northwestern region of Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, just a short drive away from Washington, D.C. and its most heavily populated suburbs. This park’s main attraction, of course, is the spectacular waterfalls from which its name derives.
One of the park’s numerous other noteworthy attributes is fifteen miles of hiking trails, which present hikers with varying degrees of difficulty. These trails include very short and easy trails such as the River Trail, the Patowmack Canal Trail, and the Matildaville Trail-the last of which is so named because its path goes through the ruins of the long-vanished town of Matildaville.
Great Falls is also home to the Difficult Run Trail, which is less than a mile long, but is more challenging, with a path through some very rocky and muddy terrain. Difficult Run also provides a connection to Fairfax’s Cross-County Trail, which- as its name suggests- links much of the county via a network of hiker/biker trails.
The lengthy Potomac Heritage Trail also passes through Great Falls Park for part of its route through Northern Virginia.
Great Falls Park can be accessed by obtaining three-day pass from the National Park Service, and these passes will also be honored at other National Parks in the greater Washington area. These other parks include the C&O Canal National Park, which is home to the famed but challenging Billy Goat Trail.
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